Business growth ideas #293 This week: Finding needs, Changing culture, Dancing

Sales and marketing Newsletter

Quick notes to help you grow your business in less time with less effort. . . sometime next week.

In this issue:

– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Techniques for FIT

  • Having no specific product or service to sell turns you into the perfect salesperson. It lets you focus on the prospect’s current problems or their grand vision. Solutions come later.
  • Any individual effort to predict the future is only slightly better than chance. This is why when predicting the performance of new hires it’s best to use a simple algorithm. It frees your team up to make changes if performance is weak. 
  • Needs and wants are good language to use for establishing priorities. There should be very few true needs, or must-haves. When the needs are satisfied we can get to the wants, or nice-to-haves, before addressing risk.
  • Going into a complex selling situation it’s easy to get confused. With multiple players and competing priorities there’s a lot of consider. Get broad agreement on the opportunity, what the company needs “more of” or “less of,” to keep everyone on track.

Being Human – Culture change

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” – Peter Drucker


We want everyone in our company to be above average, to mimic the behaviors of our best and brightest. Especially when new team members come in and seem to run circles around more established employees.

“How do I get more of that?” the executive thinks.

Consider this. Your company culture is a broad set of behaviors exhibited by employees every day. These collective behaviors are guided by a set of beliefs, reinforced by their experiences over time.

For instance, imagine a sales manager saying every salesperson needs to be at or above quota. On the sales force there is a low performer who misses quota six months in a row before quitting. Though the manager says everyone is at or above quota, the belief of the sales team is you can have a rough patch for a quarter or two before you’re in trouble. This belief is passed down whenever a rep struggles.

If you want to change company culture you have to get at beliefs like this which drive people’s behavior. It’s not motivation, it’s not inspiration, it’s building a momentum by addressing obstacles (like beliefs) that are in conflict with your objective.

Take steps to get the change you want by looking for evidence of what’s driving your current culture right now. Get at those beliefs and make changes.

Random stuff


“The truth is out there.” 


The other day my little town experienced a few days of 93 degree heat. It was hot, but since the humidity was in the 60% range it felt like a dishwasher. Oppressive. Just getting the mail leaves me drenched in sweat. Who chooses to live here?

It got me wondering how our ancestors kept cool before air conditioning. My lovely bride had a great uncle who told her they used to sleep on the porch, and he could remember nights where families would wander over to the high school to sleep on the hill because it would catch the breeze.

How did they get anything done?

Growing up in Colorado we didn’t have to worry about humidity. Few of my friends had AC, but it wasn’t a problem because you just had to hide from the late afternoon sun a few weeks a year. One trick during these hot weeks was to open the windows at night/in the morning to cool the house, then button the house up in the afternoon to stay cool.

One of these hot days I came home from school, turned down the shades, and turned up the music. When my mother came home she said, “Why is the house so dark? Are you practicing for the dance?”

It may have been a Friday afternoon, and there might have been a big school dance that night.

“No,” I said, “I’m just trying to keep the house cool.”

She gave me a look that said, I know you were dancing and didn’t want the neighbors to see.

It’s almost forty years later, and it still sticks in my craw.

I know she doesn’t believe me.


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